One of the pressing problems being faced by the country today is the scarcity of lumber. A good substitute for lumber is bamboo. Bamboo could generate tremendous income for bamboo stand owners and traders and could create jobs for the people.
There are about 65 known species of bamboo found in the country but the most commercially exploited species is Bambusa blumeana Shultz locally known as ‘kawayan-tinik’.
Kawayan is a general term for all species of bamboo in the Philippines. It generates fast, hence, it can be harvested in 3 years. One mother pole can reproduce more than one shoot. It can arrest soil erosion, stabilize riverbanks, and improve the environment. It can survive in semi-arid and marginal areas. It grows readily on cogonal areas, survives summer drought and grass fire, and develops a forest-like canopy rapidly. Likewise, it is the best substitute for wood because its strength properties are comparable with mahogany and other medium hardwood species.
Bamboo and its related industries have provided income, food, and housing to over 2.2 billion people worldwide. In 2000, bamboo contributed 3.81 million dollars to the Philippine economy. In region 1, the income amounted to 40 million pesos in 1999 from sales of bamboo poles and butts alone.
Bamboo has many uses. Many Filipinos, particularly the Ilocanos, relish bamboo shoots as salad or cooked vegetable mixed with saluyot and meat. IT is also a good material for house construction, banana props, fishing gear, décor, hats, baskets, fans, kitchen and table utensils, and toothpicks.
How to Prepare Planting Materials?
One of the major constraints in the large-scale production of bamboo is the lack of sources of planting materials.
Bamboo can be propagated by reproductive (seeds) or vegetative (rhizomes, cuttings) propagation. Among these methods, vegetative propagation through the use of one-node cuttings is the most economical. These are easier to handle and more productive.